By Dr. Janet Brill
The pituitary is an endocrine gland found in the skull just below your brain and above the nasal passages; it is within close proximity of the optic nerves which pass right by it. The pituitary plays an important role in your brains’ ability to control hormones because the hormones it creates help to control most of the other hormones created by your endocrine system. The hormones it helps control includes your thyroid, sex glands, and adrenal glands.
Up to 20% of all people actually have pituitary tumors but many do not cause any symptoms. However, those that experience a tumorous growth can have their pituitary damaged, which reduces its ability to produce the essential hormones and lead to a variety of troubles for the body.
Unfortunately, we do not know the causes for pituitary tumors. There are some theories that place a focus around DNA, genetics, and gene mutations as a potential cause of the problem but so far scientists haven’t been able to identify a key factor as to why they are so prevalent (and why they become dangerous).
A pituitary tumor generally becomes problematic due either in part because of endocrinologic disturbance or from the pressure it applies to the surrounding area.
Common symptoms of those affected may include (but not limited to):
These symptoms can happen rather suddenly. The tumor may also trigger different symptoms based on its hormonal effects on other parts of the endocrine system.
The long-term effects of a pituitary tumor could lead to vision loss, permanent hormone deficiency, and diabetes insipidus. A sever effect, though rare, includes sudden bleeding which requires immediate emergency treatment.
The current process for detecting and diagnosing pituitary tumors are as follows:
Treatment for a pituitary tumor is generally approached in four different manners depending on severity:
The 20% statistic is very real and may have you startled and concerned. The best approach after having learned this information is simple: seek professional help when applicable. Early detection and diagnosis can greatly improve your chances to eliminate symptoms created by a pituitary tumor. Make it your goal to ensure you are improving your quality of life by taking action and looking after your health.